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Why have different yardsticks for our cricketing heroes?

Last updated on: December 12, 2012 13:56 IST

Why have different yardsticks for our cricketing heroes?


Faisal Shariff

Did V V S Laxman pay the price for being an easy target, asks Faisal Shariff.

We have different yardsticks to judge our cricketing heroes.

It is not just today, but from times past.

Take the classic case of Gundappa Viswanath. Till he last played for India in 1982-1983, he was, along with his brother-in-law Sunil Gavaskar, first amongst equals.

Vishy played 91 Tests and fell short of achieving the dream 100 Tests.

A stylish batsman par excellence, Vishy paid the price for Imran Khan taking 42 wickets in a six Test series against India. Vishy struggled, but so did the others -- except Mohinder Amarnath and, to some extent, Gavaskar.

Vishy alone paid the price for the loss to Pakistan.

For the next four seasons Vishy ploughed away for Karnataka and South Zone without ever being spoken about in terms of a comeback.

He kept plundering runs alongside Brijesh Patel, without even being mentioned for a place in the Indian side.

Cut to 2012 and remind yourself of V V S Laxman. Another supreme stylist; another one from the south. Even he has disappeared from the scene.

Of course, in VVS's case, the exit was a little more civil than with Vishy. But the fate of the two stylists is just the same.

Please click Next to read what Faisal says...

Image: Sachin Tendulkar and V V S Laxman


Nothing much to choose between Sachin and Laxman

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VVS continues to play for Hyderabad and make runs.

VVS's contemporary is Sachin Tendulkar, like Vishy's was his brother-in-law, Gavaskar.

Do we have different yardsticks for lesser gods than gods themselves?

That's a question that we need to ask ourselves as we keep pounding messages on all available platforms for Tendulkar and his form.

While it is all very well to keep pointing out Tendulkar's dry spell with the bat, where was the same fever pitch for VVS?

Critics went after VVS as if he alone was the culprit for India's 8-0 away defeat. Please check the records and it will show that, barring Rahul Dravid in England, Virat Kohli and, to some extent, Wriddhiman Saha, no one weighed in with the runs.

Just look at the records of both Tendulkar and VVS from January 2011 to February 2012. There is nothing much to choose between the two great batsmen.

VVS paid the price for being an easy target from all and sundry.

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Image: V V S Laxman in full flow

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What mistake did the Test reserves make?

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Why just VVS?

Look at who were dropped from the Test squad that toured Australia: Saha, Rohit Sharma, Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun.

Why? Of course, they were the ones responsible for India losing 4-0 in Australia by playing either one Test or not playing at all.

Of the other reserves, Ajinkya Rahane continues to be on a Bharat Darshan, and, the other, Pragyan Ojha, is picking wickets.

What mistake did the Test reserves on the Australia tour do? Do we have different yardsticks for them as well?

While we are on the point about yardsticks, do we apply the same for the return of a certain Harbhajan Singh as well?

Of course, it is our point to raise questions, but we will never get any reply?

We are, of course, in a nation where the former chairman of the selectors, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, asked a senior journalist on television last week: Why should we tell you what discussions we had and the thinking behind a selection?

Image: Remember Rohit Sharma?

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